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Dark Places: A Novel
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Dark Places: A Novel [Format Kindle]

Gillian Flynn
3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit


Libby Day


I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. It’s the Day blood. Something’s wrong with it. I was never a good little girl, and I got worse after the murders. Little Orphan Libby grew up sullen and boneless, shuffled around a group of lesser relatives—second cousins and great-aunts and friends of friends—stuck in a series of mobile homes or rotting ranch houses all across Kansas. Me going to school in my dead sisters’ hand-me-downs: Shirts with mustardy armpits. Pants with baggy bottoms, comically loose, held on with a raggedy belt cinched to the farthest hole. In class photos my hair was always crooked—barrettes hanging loosely from strands, as if they were airborne objects caught in the tangles—and I always had bulging pockets under my eyes, drunk-landlady eyes. Maybe a grudging curve of the lips where a smile should be. Maybe.

I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.

It was miserable, wet-bone March and I was lying in bed thinking about killing myself, a hobby of mine. Indulgent afternoon daydreaming: A shotgun, my mouth, a bang and my head jerking once, twice, blood on the wall. Spatter, splatter. “Did she want to be buried or cremated?” people would ask. “Who should come to the funeral?” And no one would know. The people, whoever they were, would just look at each other’s shoes or shoulders until the silence settled in and then someone would put on a pot of coffee, briskly and with a fair amount of clatter. Coffee goes great with sudden death.

I pushed a foot out from under my sheets, but couldn’t bring myself to connect it to the floor. I am, I guess, depressed. I guess I’ve been depressed for about twenty-four years. I can feel a better version of me somewhere in there—hidden behind a liver or attached to a bit of spleen within my stunted, childish body—a Libby that’s telling me to get up, do something, grow up, move on. But the meanness usually wins out. My brother slaughtered my family when I was seven. My mom, two sisters, gone: bang bang, chop chop, choke choke. I didn’t really have to do anything after that, nothing was expected.

I inherited $321,374 when I turned eighteen, the result of all those well-wishers who’d read about my sad story, do-gooders whose hearts had gone out to me. Whenever I hear that phrase, and I hear it a lot, I picture juicy doodle-hearts, complete with bird-wings, flapping toward one of my many crap-ass childhood homes, my little-girl self at the window, waving and grabbing each bright heart, green cash sprinkling down on me, thanks, thanks a ton! When I was still a kid, the donations were placed in a conservatively managed bank account, which, back in the day, saw a jump about every three–four years, when some magazine or news station ran an update on me. Little Libby’s Brand New Day: The Lone Survivor of the Prairie Massacre Turns a Bittersweet 10. (Me in scruffy pigtails on the possum-pissed lawn outside my Aunt Diane’s trailer. Diane’s thick tree-calves, exposed by a rare skirt, planted on the trailer steps behind me.) Brave Baby Day’s Sweet 16! (Me, still miniature, my face aglow with birthday candles, my shirt too tight over breasts that had gone D-cup that year, comic-book sized on my tiny frame, ridiculous, porny.)

I’d lived off that cash for more than thirteen years, but it was almost gone. I had a meeting that afternoon to determine exactly how gone. Once a year the man who managed the money, an unblinking, pink-cheeked banker named Jim Jeffreys, insisted on taking me to lunch, a “checkup,” he called it. We’d eat something in the twenty-dollar range and talk about my life—he’d known me since I was this-high, after all, heheh. As for me, I knew almost nothing about Jim Jeffreys, and never asked, viewing the appointments always from the same kid’s-eye view: Be polite, but barely, and get it over with. Single-word answers, tired sighs. (The one thing I suspected about Jim Jeffreys was that he must be Christian, churchy—he had the patience and optimism of someone who thought Jesus was watching.) I wasn’t due for a “checkup” for another eight or nine months, but Jim Jeffreys had nagged, leaving phone messages in a serious, hushed voice, saying he’d done all he could to extend the “life of the fund,” but it was time to think about “next steps.”

And here again came the meanness: I immediately thought about that other little tabloid girl, Jamie Something, who’d lost her family the same year—1985. She’d had part of her face burned off in a fire her dad set that killed everyone else in her family. Any time I hit the ATM, I think of that Jamie girl, and how if she hadn’t stolen my thunder, I’d have twice as much money. That Jamie Whatever was out at some mall with my cash, buying fancy handbags and jewelry and buttery department-store makeup to smooth onto her shiny, scarred face. Which was a horrible thing to think, of course. I at least knew that.

Finally, finally, finally I pulled myself out of bed with a stage- effect groan and wandered to the front of my house. I rent a small brick bungalow within a loop of other small brick bungalows, all of which squat on a massive bluff overlooking the former stockyards of Kansas City. Kansas City, Missouri, not Kansas City, Kansas. There’s a difference.

My neighborhood doesn’t even have a name, it’s so forgotten. It’s called Over There That Way. A weird, subprime area, full of dead ends and dog crap. The other bungalows are packed with old people who’ve lived in them since they were built. The old people sit, gray and pudding-like, behind screen windows, peering out at all hours. Sometimes they walk to their cars on careful elderly tiptoes that make me feel guilty, like I should go help. But they wouldn’t like that. They are not friendly old people—they are tight-lipped, pissed-off old people who do not appreciate me being their neighbor, this new person. The whole area hums with their disapproval. So there’s the noise of their disdain and there’s the skinny red dog two doors down who barks all day and howls all night, the constant background noise you don’t realize is driving you crazy until it stops, just a few blessed moments, and then starts up again. The neighborhood’s only cheerful sound I usually sleep through: the morning coos of toddlers. A troop of them, round-faced and multilayered, walk to some daycare hidden even farther in the rat’s nest of streets behind me, each clutching a section of a long piece of rope trailed by a grown-up. They march, penguin-style, past my house every morning, but I have not once seen them return. For all I know, they troddle around the entire world and return in time to pass my window again in the morning. Whatever the story, I am attached to them. There are three girls and a boy, all with a fondness for bright red jackets—and when I don’t seen them, when I oversleep, I actually feel blue. Bluer. That’d be the word my mom would use, not something as dramatic as depressed. I’ve had the blues for twenty-four years.

I put on a skirt and blouse for the meeting, feeling dwarfy, my grown-up, big-girl clothes never quite fitting. I’m barely five foot—four foot, ten inches in truth, but I round up. Sue me. I’m thirty-one, but people tend to talk to me in singsong, like they want to give me fingerpaints.

I headed down my weedy front slope, the neighbor’s red dog launching into its busybody barking. On the pavement near my car are the smashed skeletons of two baby birds, their flattened beaks and wings making them look reptilian. They’ve been there for a year. I can’t resist looking at them each time I get in my car. We need a good flood, wash them away.

Two elderly women were talking on the front steps of a house across the street, and I could feel them refusing to see me. I don’t know anyone’s name. If one of those women died, I couldn’t even say, “Poor old Mrs. Zalinsky died.” I’d have to say, “That mean old bitch across the street bit it.”

Feeling like a child ghost, I climbed into my anonymous midsized car, which seems to be made mostly of plastic. I keep waiting for someone from the dealership to show up and tell me the obvious: “It’s a joke. You can’t actually drive this. We were kidding.” I trance-drove my toy car ten minutes downtown to meet Jim Jeffreys, rolling into the steakhouse parking lot twenty minutes late, knowing he’d smile all kindly and say nothing about my tardiness.

I was supposed to call him from my cell phone when I arrived so he could trot out and escort me in. The restaurant—a great, old-school KC steakhouse—is surrounded by hollowed-out buildings that concern him, as if a troop of rapists were permanently crouched in their empty husks awaiting my arrival. Jim Jeffreys is not going to be The Guy Who Let Something Bad Happen to Libby Day. Nothing bad can happen to BRAVE BABY DAY, LITTLE GIRL LOST, the pathetic, red-headed seven-year-old with big blue eyes, the only one who survived the PRAIRIE MASSACRE, the KANSAS CRAZE-KILLINGS, the FARMHOUSE SATAN SACRIFICE. My mom, two older sisters, all butchered by Ben. The only one left, I’d fingered him as the murderer. I was the cutie-pie who brought my Devil- worshiping brother to justice. I was big news. The Enquirer put my tearful photo on the front page with the headline ANGEL FACE.

I peered into the rearview mirror and could see my baby face even now. My freckles were faded, and my teeth straightened, but my nose was still pug and my eyes kitten-r...

Revue de presse


Named one of the Best Books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly

A Weekend TODAY “Top Summer Read”

The New Yorker's Reviewers' Favorite from 2009

A 2009 Favorite Fiction Pick by The Chicago Tribune

“[A] nerve-fraying thriller.”
The New York Times

“Flynn’s well-paced story deftly shows the fallibility of memory and the lies a child tells herself to get through a trauma.”
The New Yorker

“Gillian Flynn coolly demolished the notion that little girls are made of sugar and spice in Sharp Objects, her sensuous and chilling first thriller. In DARK PLACES, her equally sensuous and chilling follow-up, Flynn…has conjured up a whole new crew of feral and troubled young females….[A] propulsive and twisty mystery.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Flynn follows her deliciously creepy Sharp Objects with another dark tale . . . The story, alternating between the 1985 murders and the present, has a tense momentum that works beautifully. And when the truth emerges, it’s so macabre not even twisted little Libby Day could see it coming.”
People (4 stars)

“Crackles with peevish energy and corrosive wit.”
Dallas Morning News

“A riveting tale of true horror by a writer who has all the gifts to pull it off.”
Chicago Tribune

"In her first psychological thriller, Sharp Objects, Flynn created a world unsparingly grim and nasty (the heroine carves words into her own flesh) written with irresistibly mordant humor. The sleuth in her equally disturbing and original second novel is Libby Day....It's Flynn's gift that she can make a caustic, self-loathing, unpleasant protagonist someone you come to root for.”
New York Magazine

“[A] gripping thriller.”

"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre.”
–Stephen King

“Another winner!”
Harlan Coben

“Gillian Flynn’s writing is compulsively good. I would rather read her than just about any other crime writer.”
Kate Atkinson

“Dark Places grips you from the first page and doesn't let go.”
Karin Slaughter

“With her blistering debut Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn hit the ground running. Dark Places demonstrates that was no fluke.”
Val McDermid

Dark Places' Libby Day may seem unpleasant company at first–she's humoring those with morbid curiosities about her family's murders in order to get money out of them–but her steely nature and sharp tongue are compelling. 'I have a meanness inside me,'she says, 'real as an organ.'Yes she does, and by the end of this pitch-black novel, after we've loosened our grip on its cover and started breathing deeply again, we're glad Flynn decided to share it.”
Jessa Crispin,

“Flynn returns to the front ranks of emerging thriller writers with her aptly titled new novel . . . Those who prefer their literary bones with a little bloody meat will be riveted.”
Portland Oregonian

“Gillian Flynn may turn out to be a more gothic John Irving for the 21st century, a writer who uses both a surgeon's scalpel and a set of rusty harrow discs to rip the pretty face off middle America.”
San Jose Mercury News

“The world of this novel is all underside, all hard flinch, and Flynn’s razor-sharp prose intensifies this effect as she knuckles in on every sentence. . . . The slick plotting in DARK PLACES will gratify the lover of a good thriller–but so, too, will Flynn’s prose, which is ferocious and unrelenting and pure pleasure from word one.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Gillian Flynn’s second novel, DARK PLACES, proves that her first – Sharp Objects – was no fluke. . . . tough, surprising crime fiction that dips its toes in the deeper waters of literary fiction.”
Chicago Sun-Times

"Flynn fully inhabits Libby—a damaged woman whose world has resided entirely in her own head for the majority of her life and who is prone to dark metaphors: 'Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.' Half the fun of DARK PLACES is Libby’s swampy psychology, which Flynn leads us through without the benefit of hip waders.”
Time Out Chicago

“Clever, engrossing and disturbing….[DARK PLACES] should cement [Flynn’s] place in the great authors of crime fiction.”

“[D]eliciously creepy...Flynn follows 250-some pages of masterful plotting and character development with a speedway pileup of pulse-pounding revelations.”
Chicago Reader

“A genuinely shocking denouement.”
Romantic Times

“Sardonic, riveting . . . Like Kate Atkinson, Flynn has figured out how to fuse the believable characters, silken prose and complex moral vision of literary fiction to the structure of a crime story. . . . You can sense trouble coming like a storm moving over the prairie, but can't quite detect its shape.”
Laura Miller,

“These characters are fully realized—so true they could step off the page….hints of what truly happened to the Day family feel painfully, teasingly paced as they forge an irresistible trail to the truth….Could. Not. Stop. Reading.”

“Libby’s voice is a pitch-perfect blend of surliness and emotionally charged imagery. . . . The Kansas in these pages is a bleak, deterministic place where bad blood and lies generate horrifically unintended consequences. Though there’s little redemption here, Flynn manages to unearth the humanity buried beneath the squalor.”

“Set in the bleak Midwest of America, this evocation of small-town life and dysfunctional people is every bit as horribly fascinating as Capote’s journalistic retelling of a real family massacre, In Cold Blood, which it eerily resembles. This is only Flynn’ s second crime novel–her debut was the award-winning Sharp Objects–and demonstrates even more forcibly her precocious writing ability and talent for the macabre.”
Daily Mail (UK)

“Flynn’s second novel is a wonderful evocation of drab small-town life. The time-split narrative works superbly and the atmosphere is eerily macabre—Dark Places is even better than the author’s award-winning Sharp Objects.”
The Guardian (UK)

“A gritty, riveting thriller with a one-of-a-kind, tart-tongued heroine.”
Booklist, starred review

“Flynn’s second crime thriller tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects…When the truth emerges, it’s so twisted that even the most astute readers won’t have predicted it.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The sole survivor of a family massacre is pushed into revisiting a past she’d much rather leave alone, in Flynn’s scorching follow-up to Sharp Objects . . . Flynn intercuts Libby’s venomous detective work with flashbacks to the fatal day 24 years ago so expertly that as they both hurtle toward unspeakable revelations, you won’t know which one you’re more impatient to finish. . . . every sentence crackles with enough baleful energy to fuel a whole town through the coldest Kansas winter.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Once in a while a book comes along that puts a new spin on an old idea. More than 40 years ago, Truman Capote took readers inside the Clutter farmhouse in Holcomb, KS, to show them what it was like to walk in a killer's shoes. Flynn takes modern readers back to Kansas to explore the fictional 1985 Day family massacre from the perspective of a survivor as well as the suspects. . . . tight plotting and engaging characters.”
Library Journal

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1690 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 452 pages
  • Editeur : Broadway Books (5 mai 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0027MJU00
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°43.293 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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3.5 étoiles sur 5
3.5 étoiles sur 5
Commentaires client les plus utiles
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Dark Places 10 mai 2010
Livre magnifiquement ecrit qui arrive à donner une image fidèle et poignante du milieu rural américain. Thriller excellent qui devient la psychanalyse implacable de la victime et du criminel.
Mme FLYNN...Chapeau encore une fois.
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 ok 18 août 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
A good story, plot etc... I enjoyed reading this, but for me it's not a great novel, but a novel that is perfect for beach, or lazy time reading.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Diableries 11 février 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Un livre sinistre que je ne recommande à personne sauf si cette personne est de ceux qui sont partisans du satanisme.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Libby rocks !! 5 avril 2013
Par alinette
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
J'ai beaucoup aimé ce livre. Son personnage principal, Libby Day, est une anti-héroïne géniale, caustique, paumée, vénale... mais tellement humaine et fragile. Son frère Ben Day, nous le connaissons surtout à travers celui qu'il était adolescent, et il est particulièrement insaisissable. J'ai bien aimé ce traitement des personnages : ce qu'ils pensent, qui ils sont, comment ils pensent être perçus, comment ils sont perçus... C'est fait très finement, sans aucune lourdeur, et, étant donné la gravité des faits... c'est vraiment édifiant.
L'histoire est plutôt bien ficelée, même s'il ne faut pas attendre un dénouement très élégant. La fin est un petit peu décevante, mais il pouvait difficilement en être autrement, car l'intrigue initiale était très ambitieuse.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  3.526 commentaires
411 internautes sur 438 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brutal, Evocative Murder Mystery, Deftly Plotted and Utterly Fascinating 5 mai 2009
Par D. Summerfield - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Libby Day was seven years old when her mother and two sisters were massacred in a blood-soaked home invasion dubbed by the press as "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas." It was Libby's testimony which put her then-fifteen-year old brother, Ben, into prison for the rest of his life for the heinous murders.

Now, it is almost twenty-five years later, and Libby, depressed, angry and broke has agreed to attend a meeting of the Kill Club, a strange conglomerate of people obsessed with famous murders. Some of the Kill Club members have become interested in the murders of Libby's family because they are convinced that Ben has been wrongly convicted. After meeting with the Kill Club, Libby, although still sure that Ben is the murderer, decides to try to make some cash from her family's grisly history by charging the Kill Club members to interview people who might have further information about the murders.

In hauntingly compelling prose, this wonderfully talented author deftly unfolds the story of what really happened during the early morning hours of January 3, 1985, and how searching for, and uncovering, that truth will change the lives of Libby and Ben.

The book is told in an interesting intermittent flashback format, with Libby, tough and damaged from her horrific childhood, narrating the present-day chapters in first-person, while the flashback chapters, told in third-person, describe the actions of several key characters on one winter's day in 1985.

Besides Libby, the most fascinating character in the book is that of Ben, the awkward, aimless, angry boy, tottering on the brink of manhood. Ben, yearning for the father-figure which he never had, and being raised in a poverty-stricken household by a single overwhelmed mother, surrounded by bothersome little sisters, is such a troubled, unlikeable protagonist. Yet this author makes the reader see the good in Ben and how much he wants to fit in, even as the story moves the angst-ridden teenager inexorably toward the unspeakable crimes which are at the center of the narrative.

This author's prose style is unique, complex and utterly creative. She is almost Dickensian in her ability to paint a word picture of a situation or a character in a few phrases. For instance, in the first chapter Libby describes herself after the murders: "Little Orphan Libby grew up sullen and boneless, shuffled around a group of lesser relatives...stuck in a series of mobile homes or rotting ranch houses all across Kansas." When Libby sees her brother Ben for the first time in almost twenty-five years, she views him through the glass at the visiting room at the prison: "He looked so much the same, pale face, that Day knob of a nose. He hadn't even grown much since the murders. Like we all got stunted that night."

This novel is a fascinating murder mystery, but it is so much more than that. It is a wise, evocative character study -- a glimpse into the lives of people who are lost and are struggling to find their way in a dangerous world. Some never find a path, some show others a path, and some find refuge -- which can be either heaven or hell. But all of these people -- for better or worse -- matter, and their intertwined lives are a lesson to the reader that even the tiniest action may have huge unintended consequences.

Highly recommended.
131 internautes sur 138 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Haunting and disturbing... 7 avril 2009
Par Denise Crawford - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Who killed Libby Day's family? This is the mystery that is presented on the first page and the subsequent chapters detail Libby's attempt - half-hearted at first, to get the answers she so desperately needs in order for her to get on track in life. The book alternates points of view from Libby in present day to various characters from the past - describing the events that led up to, and include the infamous day of the murders twenty-five years previous - January 2, 1985.

The book is paced and the author writes excellent and well developed descriptions of the characters - Libby's mother, aunt Diane, sisters and brother - as well as of the setting of the Kinnakee, Kansas farm and Libby's house on the bluff in Kansas City, Missouri. (As a KCMO native, I was surprised to find a book set in this Midwest city because it is so rare and I really enjoyed that fact about the book.)

Because of the way the novel is written, the various points of view in each chapter are used to advance Libby's determination and investigation into actually and finally finding out who killed her family and why. The plot is revealed in layers and the reader isn't quite sure how all of this is going to come together - but it does. This is not a heart pounding thriller, but a more dark and plodding one - you know that denouement is just around the corner - you're hoping that Libby is going to get the information she wants as she confronts first one and then another of the surviving family and others involved with the search for the killer(s) of her family. Indeed, the hangers on - the Kill Club members - and her father, the loser Runner, only add to her consternation as she seems thwarted at every turn. Even her own brother, Ben, imprisoned by her testimony, seems to put roadblocks up instead of providing answers in the case.

This is not a book for the squeamish and describes some grisly scenes that include depictions of bloody murder and one of senseless animal torture. Libby, the protagonist, is not a loveable character, but one who grows on the reader as we are drawn into her world. We almost feel her lassitude and recognize how much energy her efforts cost her. We root for her, but are wondering if we really do want to know the answers. Is Ben guilty or not? No one associated with this crime is free of criminal association or above suspicion.

All in all - a good whodunit with a very appropriate ending.
180 internautes sur 206 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Unsympathetic characters almost ruined the story... 23 juin 2009
Par J.L. Cocca - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The basic plotline of this story was excellent. Youngest daughter in a single-mother family of four survives the slaughter of said family and then testifies that her brother was the killer. Nearly twenty-five years later circumstances arise that make her question everything she's ever known and the ensuing story about finding answers leads us to a resolution. I thought this premise sounded very interesting and that the novel would provide me with a little bit of thought-provocation and a lot of suspense.

Unfortunately, the way each of these characters were written made them very unsympathetic to me as a reader. Many may disagree with me, by saying that anyone who experiences the brutal death of a family member has the right to be selfish throughout the rest of his or her life. But, I disagree with that theory and the actions of Libby Day, her tone in telling the story and her mood towards those around her who only wanted to help did not endear her to me at all.

What redeemed this novel for me were the flashback chapters told from the perspectives of Ben and Patty Day, accused brother and murdered mother respectively. Hearing the story told, in the day leading up to the murders, from their points of view were the pieces of this book that made me keep reading instead of tossing the book aside for something better. In these chapters, the author did a remarkable job of laying out the puzzles pieces that no one had been able to put together up to that point.

This story has many layers and I'm sure that different readers will get many different messages from it. I was disappointed that I didn't like the main character more, but that didn't stop me from wanting to get answers about what really happened "that night" just like she did.

This is not a novel to be read easily on a beach or vacation. You need to be open to giving all aspects of this story a lot of thought and you need to realize that there are no "warm fuzzies" anywhere within this novel, even when the mysteries are solved. If you go into it with that knowledge, then I think you'll enjoy your read much more than I did. I'm afraid I picked up this book thinking it was just like any other mystery, but it's so much more than that.

Because I wasn't expecting it, I'm not sure I appreciated all those levels as much as I could have. But, there's no denying that this is a very well-written, inventive story given to us by an extremely talented author.
72 internautes sur 87 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 (4.5) "Since then I've been waiting to die." 10 mai 2010
Par Luan Gaines - Publié sur
Flynn's novel has the effect of blunt force trauma. With icy precision and an eye for the consequences of poverty and despair, this novel hums with discordance and the chronic misery of a family mired in unhappiness. In January, 1985, Libby Day is the survivor of a family massacre, at seven years old the only witness to the murder of her mother and two sisters on their Kansas farm. Libby's brother, Ben, has spent the last twenty-five years in jail for what an avid press describes as "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee Kansas". A sullen, angry teenager, Ben proves an uncooperative person of interest, the public promptly labeling him a drug-addicted Satanist. Now in her thirties, Libby bears the scars of that harrowing night, when she climbed from her mother's bedroom window to escape her family's grisly fate. Carefully coached, Libby is the star witness against Ben, the jury happy to put an end to the nightmare scenario of the butchered Day family, Ben an obvious target.

An unlikely heroine, Libby is profoundly depressed, suicidal and nearly out of funds from a trust set up for the surviving victim of the crimes. A product of her environment, Libby is a manipulative liar and opportunist, a thief of people's belongings, anything to momentarily assuage the gaping hole in her life without family or hope. Approached by the Kill Club, a loose group of true crime aficionados, Libby seizes an opportunity to earn some desperately needed money by selling selected family memorabilia and visiting the brother she has not spoken to since her testimony in court. Her world already painfully distorted by the murders, contacting Ben is but another step down a dark path toward oblivion. Fearless, Libby has been waiting to die since that terrible January night.

This novel is shocking, brutal and disconcerting, an unsparing exploration of people and their motives, a harsh landscape that questions long-held assumptions about the human capacity for violence. The Days are the object of ridicule, their hand-me-down clothes and indelible mark of less-than. It is easy to recoil, to point the finger of guilt at the angst-riddled teenager, Ben, and donate money for the profoundly disturbed survivor, who bounces from place to place wreaking havoc on those who provide shelter. And as the facts of that night are revealed, layer after layer of ugliness is exposed, a confluence of violence that fills the air with screams, then silence. From the Day family to Ben's questionable associates and his flirtation with the forbidden, from bone-crushing poverty and the banality of true evil, Flynn crafts a masterpiece of cold-blooded horror with no happy ending, daring the reader to look away. Stripping the mask of innocence from the predictable response to a heinous crime, Flynn stares into the void, daring us to do the same. Luan Gaines.
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 More Twisted Than a Jerry Springer Episode 28 janvier 2010
Par Ann-Kat @ - Publié sur
* Point 1: Multiple personality disorder. The book alternates between three different perspectives, the main character Libby Day (in first person), and Patty and Ben Day (in third person).

* Point 2: A twisted Jerry Springer episode. None of the characters had any redeeming qualities, but on some level, they were truly human. And the situation, as it unfolded, was twisted but on some level you had to wonder could this possibly happen?

* Point 3: Smartly written. I am surprised and delighted by Flynn's fluid writing style.


Twenty-five years after her mother and two sisters were slaughtered, Libby Day finds herself nearly penniless, which is why she was willing to dredge up her past by the offer of quick and easy cash.

Back in early January 1985, when the murders occurred, Libby's brother Ben had been accused, arrested, and convicted--partly due to Libby's own testimony. But as Libby starts looking at the actual events of the day, she realizes that her memories might not have been accurate.

As Libby puts the pieces of the puzzle together, working from the present to the past, we the readers get to see the events unfolding from the past to the present through Patty and Ben Day's perspectives beginning on that fateful morning.

The prose and flow of this novel is enthralling. Flynn has this way with words that just tugs at your physical senses, and she deftly handled switching between the various points of view (Libby, Patty, & Ben). One problem, however, was that it became difficult to connect with the characters on more than a superficial level. Right when I thought I was finally connecting with Libby, bam I'm thrown into Patty's or Ben's story and vice versa. Some of the switching also provided lulls right when the action from one character's perspective began to pick up, so it was constantly building tension then dropping like a stone.

That said, it could have much more to do with the actual characters than Flynn's shifting between them. Libby is a bitter kleptomaniac who's deeply troubled, partly due to what happened to her family and partly because that's who she is.

Patty, though I hate to admit it, is probably a good reflection of most struggling mothers and, of the three characters, seemed most genuine. Her stress was understandable, her motives were clear, and her actions reflected it. She was real.

Ben was just twisted in ways that I'm still trying to piece together. How much can be blamed on just being a teenage boy in a bad situation and just plain having a screw loose isn't exactly clear. He may very well reflect some teenage boys (actually, I'm certain he does), but he was just too incongruous. Either way, it was difficult to get beneath the surface. Then there's the Ben after he's all grown up. We get a clearer picture of who he is and I was glad to see that he'd learned much from his youth (spent mostly in prison).

One section of the book completely took me out of the story. Unfortunately, I can't say much else because it would be a HUGE spoiler. Let's just say that a chapter just randomly appeared out of nowhere from a different perspective and it left me scratching my head and wondering what just happened?

At the end of the day, this story needed at least one redeeming character to provide some level of balance. And it would have helped if the momentum and tension of each character's story built upon each other. (Not to say every chapter was jarring, but a few toward the middle and end were.) The story and climax were exciting, but not especially so.

Aside from the characters, I loved the common thread throughout the book: Money (or the lack thereof). It was interesting to watch how the desperation caused by a lack of money could destroy the lives of everyone involved and leave those in its wake an empty shell of a human.

I fluctuated between really liking and just liking this book. I loved the writing and liked the story, but unfortunately, the characters and the balance just left too much to be desired.
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